Although this song is recorded in a particular unintelligible Jamaican patios, its meaning was sufficiently clear to incur the wrath of self-styled gay rights activist Peter Tatchell. The boom is clearly the sound of a gun, "bye bye" is what happens when the gun is held to the victim's head, a batty bwoy in this case, or a homosexual in common or garden parlance. This particular song also appears to advocate throwing acid over homosexuals.
In August 1994, Tatchell appeared on the front cover of the (now defunct) London freesheet Capital Gay
; he was being led away by police officers after being arrested outside a conference of Moslem Fundamentalists in Wembley, and was holding a poster which bore the legend:
Banton first recorded "Boom Bye Bye" in 1988, when he was 15 years old. Tatchell's displeasure at alleged incitements to murder his fellow homosexuals is not shared by the majority of Banton's countrymen. Jamaica was granted independence from the Mother Country in 1962, several years before the Wolfenden reforms which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain. Jamaica did not follow suit, and homosexual acts remained illegal on that island.
Having said that, it is one thing to prosecute homosexuals, and another to shoot them - especially when their ranks have included Noël Coward, Elton John and George Michael - to name but three! Tatchell instigated a campaign called "Stop Murder Music" and persuaded many reggae artists to sign something called The Reggae Compassionate Act
; Tatchell actually began his crusade after hearing Banton's song. In July 2007, the Guardian
reported that Banton has signed the Act, apparently because boycotts mounted by the organised homosexual movement were costing him money. Alas, in October 2009, Tatchell announced to the world via his personal website in his capacity as "international coordinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign" that "in early June 2007 [he] signed [The Reggae Compassion Act
] under his real name, Mark Myrie", but that, sadly, "Buju has performed Boom Bye Bye, in whole or part, after signing the RCA and has abused gay rights groups with the epithet 'F--k them.'"
Tatchell said also that Banton had denied signing the act, which may be true, but it remains to be seen if the song he calls "an anti-gay anthem" is actually sung by mobs when they attack homosexuals, or if it was in any way responsible for the murder of Jamaican homosexual activist Brian Williamson in 2004.
"Boom Bye Bye" runs to some 3 minutes 20 seconds.
Alexander Baron - London, England